Inside New Orleans Politics for April 6, 2013

Advocate staff photo by DERICK HINGLE -- Mayor Mitch Landrieu speaks to a gathering along with city officials and FEMA officials as they prepare to break ground Friday on the $6.1 million Stallings St. Claude Community Center and pool located on 4300 St. Claude Ave in the Bywater neighborhood.
Advocate staff photo by DERICK HINGLE -- Mayor Mitch Landrieu speaks to a gathering along with city officials and FEMA officials as they prepare to break ground Friday on the $6.1 million Stallings St. Claude Community Center and pool located on 4300 St. Claude Ave in the Bywater neighborhood.

Landrieu: No bad blood with Gusman

To the casual observer, it sure seems like Mayor Mitch Landrieu and Orleans Parish Sheriff Marlin Gusman have become embroiled in quite a feud, sparked by the pending federal consent decree that looms over the Sheriff’s Office and the price tag that awaits the city.

But a day after a terse news conference in which a visibly frustrated Gusman accused Landrieu of using “Archie Bunker rhetoric” in discussing the jail issue during the past week, the mayor said there is no bad blood between the two.

Mainly, Landrieu said, it is a matter of professional differences, not personal ones.

“I’ve been knowing Marlin Gusman for a long time. We practiced law together a long time ago, and I like him. I’ve always liked him,” Landrieu said. “But this is not about whether somebody is your friend or not. It’s about getting the people’s business right, and it’s about managing the city.”

Landrieu seemed to let the personal attack roll off of his shoulders.

“Sheriff Gusman can be forgiven for being a little perturbed yesterday,” Landrieu said. “If I sat on the stand for six hours, I’d be aggravated, too.

“And plus, I’ve been called worse, so that’s no big deal.”

Still, Landrieu said, the jail ultimately needs good management and that he will at some point in the not-too-distant future ask the United States government to install a federal receiver to ensure the operations are efficient.

Head campaign is focus of new film

“Getting Back to Abnormal,” a documentary making its local premiere at the Prytania Theater, delves into the 2010 election of Stacy Head while offering a look at post-Hurricane Katrina race and politics.

According to press material for the film, much of the screen time is shared by Head’s “larger-than-life confidante, community activist Barbara Lacen-Keller.” It also features Head’s political opponent Corey Watson and Stephanie Mingo, a longtime public housing resident “fighting to maintain a sense of community in her rapidly changing neighborhood.”

Beyond city politics, the film also chronicles the 50-year reunion of the three women who integrated New Orleans public schools with the protection of federal marshals.

The film will be screened at 7:15 p.m. Saturday, 2:45 p.m. Sunday and 5:30 p.m. Wednesday as part of the New Orleans Film Society’s FilmOrama.

New pool, center coming to St. Claude

City officials broke ground Friday on a new $6.1 million Stallings St. Claude Center and pool in Bywater.

Located at 4300 St. Claude Ave., the new 17,000-square-foot facility will replace the former 13,000-square-foot community center that was abandoned after Hurricane Katrina.

The original Stallings St. Claude Center and pool was built in 1948. It was in honor of Olive A. Stallings, known as the “mother of playgrounds” in New Orleans, who built the city’s first playground in 1906 using her own money.

Stallings went on to serve as the first president of the New Orleans Playground Commission after it was formed in 1911. She held that post until her death in 1940. She left one-fourth of her estate to the playground system, a precursor to the New Orleans Recreation Department, upon her death.

Construction on the new Stallings project will begin this month and is expected to be completed by spring 2014.

In addition to the new community center and renovated pool and pool buildings, the site also will have new bicycle racks and basketball courts.

The center in particular will boast a gymnasium, dance room, multipurpose room and an exercise and computer room.

Compiled by

Danny Monteverde